Δευτέρα, 22 Απριλίου 2013

The Future of European Defence (Admiral James Stavridis)

22 Apr 2013

In late April, I'll travel to Berlin to give one of the final speeches of my four years as the Supreme Allied Commander for NATO's global operations.In what will be a bit of a valedictory address, I shall talk about the challenges the Alliance faces in the time ahead -- there are many. I'll also offer some thoughts and solutions that I hope will be helpful to my successor and the team that will continue the voyage at NATO headquarters.
First, as to the challenges:
- Cyber – Top of my list. Here we see the greatest mismatch between the level of potential threat and our preparation for it. While the 28 NATO nations collectively have enormous skill and capability in this area, we have yet to find ways to work together, largely due to national caveats and concerns about sharing such sensitive technology, intelligence, and knowledge.
- Proliferation - I worry greatly about the leakage of weapons of mass destruction from various rogue states like Syria, Iran, and North Korea. Associated with this is the ability to deliver such weapons using ballistic missiles -- a technology that is likewise proliferating rapidly. The current situation in Syria, of course, is the most immediately worrisome.
- Trafficking - Related to proliferation, yet encompassing not only weapons of mass destruction, but also humans (as in slavery and human smuggling for profit), conventional weapons, currency, narcotics, and illegal migrants. By some estimates, these various "business ventures" account for 5% of the world's GDP, or something in the range of $5 Trillion. The effect goes far beyond the criminality -- profits finance terrorism, create corrupt criminal states, and undermine fragile democracies.
- Piracy - While we are making gains (especially on the east coast of Africa), this will continue to be a multi-billion dollar discontinuity in the global transportation system.
Operation Ocean Shield's Combined Boarding Exercise— in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (Photo credit:  MARCOM)
- Fragile States -- Afghanistan, Mali and Syria are obvious, and NATO interests are engaged in each. Additionally, there are other very fragile security situations in North Africa, the Levant, and central Asia that have the potential to require security operations at some point.
- Financial Crunch – Austerity and the effect of defence budgets. NATO GDP % defence spending remained at 1.6% average in 2012, same as 2011, down from 1.8% in 2010 and 1.9% in 2009.
- Black Swans - What are we disregarding, because it seems too low a probability, but could have enormous consequence? I'd nominate a bird flu pandemic, which, if large enough, could have massive security consequences.
All of which brings us to the future of European defence.
It is worth remembering the good news: the 28 nations of NATO account for over 50% of the world's gross domestic product and collectively spend nearly $1 trillion on defence, dwarfing any possible opponent or combination of opponents.
Having said that, the declining European defence budget and the fact that the U.S. accounts for nearly 73% of total NATO defence spending is unbalanced and unsustainable over time. American taxpayers will begin to feel that the European Allies and partners are "getting a free ride" as some already say in the U.S.
NATO Europe should meet its own self-assigned goal of 2% of GDP for defence (the U.S., even with recent cuts, spends well over 3%); yet the European numbers are in fact dropping as mentioned above.
While we work our way through the financial crisis and hopefully return to balance between the two sides of the Atlantic, some of the things we should consider to enhance efficiencies and add "bang for the buck" include:
- Pooling and sharing our resources - We are doing some of this today, of course with the so-called "Smart Defence" initiative. This includes Alliance Ground Surveillance (unmanned drone aircraft bought together); the C-17 heavy airlift wing in Papa, Hungary for strategic airlift; ballistic missile defence, far too expensive for any one nation; and Baltic Air Policing, bringing high-performance jets to cover the airways over the Baltic states while they concentrate on other areas of investment.
Danish Air Force F-16s participating in the Baltic Region Training Event XIV on 17 April 2013.
(Photo by by Capt Maciej Nojek, Polish Air Force)
- Cyber – As discussed above, we simply need to break down barriers to cooperation here, recognizing the sensitivity of the material involved. The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence Tallinn, Estonia is a good start, as are more exercises with a significant Cyber component, like Steadfast Jazz and other future events.
- Special Forces are crucial to 21st century security and we need to share best practices, train and exercise, and ultimately operate in mutually supportive ways. The new SOF Headquarters building at SHAPE in Mons, Belgium is a good example of the synergy that comes from bringing so many national SOF forces together.
The new NATO Special Operations Headquarters building at SHAPE, Dec. 12, 2012. (NATO Photo by RNLAF Sgt Peter Buitenhuis) 
- NATO Response Force – Joint training, Live Exercises, more robust and stronger interoperability will be key and are part of pooling and sharing. A permanent standing NRF HQ might able to go alone or work with Joint Force Commands and HQs – including the EUROCORPS, Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, German-Netherlands Corps, and others. Working with concerned partners across the globe who can contribute to security is the ultimate form of "Smart Defence."
- Comprehensive approach – Working with political, economic, humanitarian, cultural, and private sector partners. This approach will allow us to best prepare the next Black Swan event. Military/Civilian, Foreign/Domestic, Public/Private, Academia, NGOs/Multi-Nationals must pool and share among themselves.
To meet these many challenges, there is much to be done on this side of the Atlantic, and inevitably NATO will continue to be a useful platform for encouraging a re-emergence of European defence.

Admiral, USN
Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
Commander, US European Command
"Stronger Together"